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Exercise of the week: lateral dumbbell raise

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Initial position. Personal Photo.

The lateral dumbbell raise is a simple lift that focuses on the deltoids (shoulders).  The deltoids are small muscles so the lift does not require a huge amount of weight to be effective.  When using too much weight, the deltoids cannot handle all the weight so the body recruits the biceps, triceps, and back to assist in the lift, making it dangerous and inefficient.

The lift procedure:

  1. Start by standing up straight with a tight core, slight bend in the knees (to prevent locking), feet hip to shoulder width apart, and arms relaxed at the side of the body with dumbbells in hands.  Hold the dumbbells with an overhand grip.
  2. Keep a slight bend in the elbow, and raise the arms to horizontal.  The slight bend in the elbows is to prevent locking of the elbows.  Raising the arms above horizontal is acceptable because it works the trapezius (upper back and posterior neck muscle). 
  3. Lower the arms back to the start position and repeat the motion.

Final position. Personal Photo.
This lift usually doesn't feel difficult at first, but a "burn" feeling can be felt after several repetitions.  Women typically use dumbbells ranging from 5-10 pounds.  Men typically use weights ranging from 10-20 pounds.  This is a high repetition exercise with lower weights so sets of 10-20 reps are normal. 
Like all lifts, proper breathing is important.  Start the lift by taking a breath in.  Exhale as the arms reach their highest point.  Inhale at the arms return to the start position. 
While this lift works the whole deltoid, it focuses on the middle of the deltoid primarily.  To work the front and rear part of the deltoid more, try a frontal dumbbell raise and a bent over lateral raise.

 

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